Browsed by
Tag: USA

It isn’t over until it’s over

It isn’t over until it’s over

In younger years and decades, I read a lot of Clive Barker. One of his most famous stories is In the Hills, the Cities. This is about a contest between two cities, who build increasingly higher figures or monsters – made out of their citizens – year on year. Until one year, one of the figures starts to fall apart. Like a lot of Clive Barker’s writing, the story is not for the faint of heart. But I’m reminded of…

Read More Read More

Summer of 2015

Summer of 2015

My on-off personal project to sort out the colossal mess of online “stuff” is back in “on” mode. And with it, here’s some digital ephemera from the summer just gone. First up, the Flickr set of 260 pictures. This was my third entire summer in the USA, this time stretching from early May to early August. Apart from being bookended by a few days in Chicago, pretty much all of this was spent in central, and rural, Iowa. As with…

Read More Read More

The fifteen hundred

The fifteen hundred

There was an era in U.S. political life “that began with Ronald Reagan, where there was a conservative dominance powered by conservative voters and Southern whites,” said David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “That era is over.” You know those news stories of religious cults, approaching a day of judgement where they are convinced that they will ascend to some form of heaven, leaving all the unbelievers behind? And they gather on…

Read More Read More

Storms over Lake Michigan

Storms over Lake Michigan

It was a few years ago, now. More recent than many of the other adventures I’d had in America, but still disappearing into the cognitively dusty corner of things done in the past. Some memories, most memories, fade, but some memories are sharp enough to endure. I’d been dating H. It wasn’t good. The hot summer in the rust belt, and the previous baggage we’d both brought to the relationship, had stifled it pretty quickly. She was coming back to…

Read More Read More

Rick Santorum is fascinating

Rick Santorum is fascinating

At which point, British liberal friends say “Who?” and my American liberal friends say “OMG why John, why, we thought you were one of us?” Because he’s a Conservative American politician and he’s doing between okay and well in the quest to become the Republican presidential candidate this year, despite having hardly any infrastructure or team or funding compared to Mitt Romney. And I’ve met and chatted with him. And, think I get why he’s doing well. Also. I like…

Read More Read More

Where liberty is, there is my country

Where liberty is, there is my country

You know an image affects you when you keep returning to look at it “one more time”. And wandering around on Flickr, there’s one image I keep returning to. The photographer has given permission for it to be used here; you can find it yourself on Flickr, or click on the image for the larger version: Chatting to the photographer, and looking around her Flickr pictures, reveals some connections. Maryann is a school librarian in the midwest, currently “teaching my…

Read More Read More

Pastries of the night

Pastries of the night

There’s a bakery and shop here in Grinnell which, as bakeries do, bakes stuff in the night and the early hours. Breads, cookies, cakes, pastries and all manner of things. It’s small, but rather good, and we’ve bought stuff from there several times before. This bakery is a little different in that if you go round the back from 2am onwards, and the owner is in there baking, he’ll sell you stuff that’s hot, or warm, out of the oven….

Read More Read More

American Gothic reimagined

American Gothic reimagined

And as the summer draws to a close, we continued our trips around the awesome state of Iowa. First impressions were of several thousand square miles of corn and precious little else, but perceptions are deceptive. There’s a lot in Iowa, if you look for it; more on this in future posts. The best thing we’ve done here so far? Visited the house that Grant Wood painted in the iconic, and much parodied, American Gothic. The original painting… …hangs in…

Read More Read More

Blue Highways

Blue Highways

My favourite non-fiction book. And the answer to the “What one possession would you take with you if your house was on fire?” question. The author is also the person, if I could pick one, I want to be. I’ve been fascinated, obsessed, delirious, about America since I could speak and read, possibly before. My earliest memory was of watching man – an American – land on the moon, being too young to understand the excitement of a packed room…

Read More Read More